New Jersey Transit Raritan Line

From nycsubway.org


New Jersey Transit Multilevel Coach leads a train at Lebanon on the Raritan Line. Photo by Richard Panse, November 2010.


Departing Newark, (described on the New Jersey Transit Northeast Corridor Line page), the Raritan line diverges into a right of way built by the Central Railroad of New Jersey.

Station By Station

Union. Union Station is labeled on the station signage as "Union (Kean University)". While the building and platforms are new the station is rather old, and had been closed for some time. There is a single high island platform surrounded by the two tracks.

Roselle Park. This station was built in the late 1960's as part of the Aldene project. This project rerouted the Central Railroad of New Jersey main line from its Jersey City terminal into Newark Penn Station. Part of the project was to remove the grade crossings from the Lehigh Valley line in the Roselle Park and Union area. The station is an island platform station. On the Eastbound side there is a gauntlet track to allow freight trains to pass the high level platform safely. Access to the platform is through the embankment. There is very heavy freight traffic through this station.

Cranford. Cranford station was built on an embankment in the mid 1930's. A ticket office is downstairs and has been rebuilt and is very well maintained. The station building has a small waiting area. It is also used for other offices. There is space for six tracks. The two inner tracks and two outer tracks have been removed over the years. Previously, there were island platforms but now all that remain are two side platforms facing the two remaining tracks. Platforms are accessed through a tunnel and are high level. There are small waiting areas on the platform. In the tunnel to the platforms there are photographs from the history of Cranford.

Garwood. The Garwood station is just two paved low level side platforms. There are bus shelter type waiting areas.

Westfield The station at Westfield has two high-level side platforms. The main station house is on the eastbound side. This building contains a ticket office and a small waiting area and has been restored to its 1930's condition. There is a building on the westbound side, also restored, used by nonprofit organizations. There is an access tunnel that connects the eastbound and westbound platforms. Similar to Cranford, there are historic photographs of the Westfield area in the tunnel.

Fanwood. The Fanwood station is another historic Central Railroad of New Jersey station. The westbound station building is Victorian in design and is used by a nonprofit organization, like at Westfield. The eastbound station is a plain station just used as a ticket office. This station has two low-level side platforms.

Netherwood. The Netherwood station is located in the eastern portion of the city of Plainfield. Once again we find a well-maintained station house with two low-level side platforms.

Plainfield. Along with Netherwood, the Plainfield serves the city of Plainfield, this time on the western side of the city. There is an eastbound and westbound station house. The eastbound station house contains the ticket office and small waiting area. The building here has also been restored to like-new condition. The westbound station building is sealed and could use a little bit of work. Currently, two new high platforms are being constructed east of the current station. Departing Plainfield station to the west, there is evidence of a closed station at Clinton Avenue.

Dunellen. At Dunellen station we find another pre-New Jersey Transit station. This station is built into the embankment. On the ground level we find a ticket office and small waiting area. Upstairs there are two low-level platforms trackside. The station also serves New Jersey Transit bus operations to both Newark and New York City.

Bound Brook. The Bound Brook station buildings are constructed of brick, with the westbound building now being used as a restaurant. The eastbound station house is not used for public purposes. There are two low-level platforms with a tunnel access to the eastbound side. On the eastbound side there is also a local freight track which passengers must cross to get to the main platform. Behind the eastbound side you also can find the mainline of Conrail's Lehigh line. This is a fairly heavily-used freight line leading to the Oak Island freight yards in Newark. You will find many Norfork Southern and CSX trains moving through this area.

Bridgewater. Built in 1999 on the site of the former "Calico" station. It is located directly behind the Commerce Bank Ballpark. Two short platforms that can only berth two cars (usually first two cars on the eastbound side, last two on the westbound side). Eastbound platform built on former trackway ROW (there's evidence that four tracks once ran through here). Station house on eastbound side only contains a couple of benches, a route map, and some heaters that always seem out of order. This is a very popular commuter station, with the ample free parking in the Commerce Bank Ballpark parking lot. There seems to be enough room for making the platforms longer, even to have high platforms eventually.


Somerville. At Somerville, there are two low-level platforms. The station house here has been restored and is in use by a law firm. At track level there is space for four railroad tracks that have been removed over time.

Raritan. Raritan station is the terminal for most of the trains on the Raritan Valley line. The station here was built in the late 1800s and has been designated a national landmark. The building is made out of stone and has been restored to its original condition. There are two low-level platform's here. This is the only station on the line that is at ground level (as opposed to up on an embankment). There are two grade crossings, one at each end of the platforms, which are protected with flashing lights and gates. The trains continue to the Raritan yard, which is about three-quarters of a mile down the tracks. This yard is used for layovers during the day and storing the trains at night.

North Branch. Departing Raritan, the line continues westward with very limited weekday only service, via a one track right of way. The next station at North Branch is of minimal feature, simply a bus shelter on the low platform on the south side of the tracks. The platform is very short. There is visible evidence of a removed second track south of the existing one.

White House. Again a single low platform on the south side of the track, but this time with a nice station house featuring eyebrow windows and arched doors. Departing the station, the track climbs into the hills and the surroundings become very woodsy.

Lebanon. Lebanon station has a second track in place and there is a station house on the north side of the north track. The southern track is disused and ends at a bumper west of the station. Departing Lebanon the tracks start a steep descent and then level off a bit before descending at a lesser grade.

Annandale. This station has three tracks in the station, with the southernmost track totally overgrown, and evidence of a possible removed far north track. The station has two low platforms with bus shelters. There is an old station house now in commercial use.

High Bridge. Reverting to a single track for the journey to High Bridge, the station itself has two tracks with only the southern one in use. There is a low-level platform on the south side.

Former Stations

Elizabeth. The Elizabeth station, while not an active station, was part of the original Central Railroad of New Jersey line into Jersey City. The station house has been rebuilt and is going to be used as part of an urban development project. The station can be seen from the Northeast Corridor mainline which crosses over the old main line at this station. There are no longer any active tracks at this location.

Photo Gallery

Image 20494
(59k, 640x480)
Photo by: Alan Braunstein
Location: Cranford

Image 20499
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Photo by: Alan Braunstein
Location: Fanwood

Image 20505
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Photo by: Alan Braunstein
Location: Raritan

Image 68158
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Photo by: Bob Vogel
Location: Union

Image 81333
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Photo by: Chris Reidy
Location: Annandale

Image 83105
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Photo by: Kurt Weber
Location: Bound Brook

Image 109127
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Photo by: Paul Pesante
Location: Bound Brook

Image 109130
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Photo by: Paul Pesante
Location: Bound Brook

Image 109133
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Photo by: Paul Pesante
Location: Bound Brook

Image 114575
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Photo by: Richard Panse
Location: Lebanon

Image 118889
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Photo by: Chris Reidy
Location: Lebanon

Image 131605
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Photo by: Lee Winson
Location: Cranford

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Photo by: Lee Winson
Location: Roselle Park

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Photo by: Lee Winson
Location: Westfield

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Photo by: Leonard Wilson
Location: Roselle Park

More Images: 1-50 51-100

Photos By Location

Union, Roselle Park, Cranford, Garwood, Westfield, Fanwood, Netherwood, Plainfield, Dunellen, Bound Brook, Bridgewater, Finderne, Somerville, Raritan, North Branch, White House, Lebanon, Annandale, High Bridge

Page Credits

By Alan Braunstein.

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